Are you having a hard time choosing the right beginner acoustic guitar? Thankfully, the presence of big names like Fender FA 115 can make it a bit easier. This review will help you make an informed decision.

Fender is perhaps the biggest name in the world of guitars, and they’ve been around since the ‘30s. However, they mostly make high-end guitars with hefty prices.

Cheap Fenders are rare because they have a dedicated budget brand called Squier. They focus on electric guitars though, as does Fender in general.

However, there are a few affordable Fender acoustic guitars on the market, the foremost being the Fender FA 115. It’s popular among beginners, but it’s always better to ask more experienced guitar enthusiasts.

So, let’s look at how well it competes among the best beginner acoustic guitars.

Fender FA 115 Features

Fender FA-115 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar - Natural Bundle with Fender Play Online Lessons, Gig Bag, Tuner, Strings, Strap, Picks, and Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD
  • Top: Laminate Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Basswood
  • Neck: Maple neck
  • Nut Width: 1.65″
  • Nut & Saddle: Synthetic bone
  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Electronics: None

Fender FA-115 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar - Natural Bundle with Fender Play Online Lessons, Gig Bag, Tuner, Strings, Strap, Picks, and Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD
  • Full-size dreadnought body for full and vibrant tone, suited for all styles of music
  • Rosewood bridge with compensated synthetic bone saddle
  • Laminated spruce top with X bracing

The Fender FA 115 is a basic dreadnought guitar with a laminated spruce top. Agathis wood makes up the sides, back, and neck. Instead of rosewood, it has a pau ferro fingerboard. It’s a C-shaped neck with a truss rod for string action adjustments. The chrome-covered tuners hold a tuning well for this price range.

Unlike most cheap guitars, it has a synthetic bone compensated saddle and nut, which brings more consistency to the feel and the sound. The Fender FA 115 comes with Fender Duratone strings, so you don’t need to switch them right away.

The body and neck have a glossy finish that’ll last and protect against scratches. There’s also a black pickguard for extra protection. Nothing stands out too much about the FA 115. Only the finer details differ from other cheap acoustic guitars, but it makes a difference.

How the Fender FA 115 Plays

First of all, the string action is very welcoming for this price range. Even a young beginner can fret the strings with ease. That’s because it’s low-action. However, this can cause some buzzing. If you’re concerned about that, you can ask a professional to configure it.

The easy playability makes the Fender FA 115 an excellent beginner guitar regardless of genre. Playing arpeggios is easy enough for a learning guitarist, thanks to the compensated string height. And you get very visible fretboard inlays to help you find the right frets.

Younger children may benefit more from one of these children’s guitars. Others should get a full-size like the Fender FA 115 to avoid having to re-learn further down the road.

Tone Quality

When it comes to sound, the Fender FA 115 performs as expected. It’s good for a cheap beginner guitar. It has a richer tone than most guitars in this price range.

It does buzz at times, and the intonation isn’t perfect. You’ll notice some slight inconsistencies in the higher frets, but beginners and intermediates won’t play much up there anyway.

There’s nothing to complain about for a guitar this cheap. It does a good job, and it’s all you need for practicing. I wouldn’t bring it on stage though, it doesn’t quite deliver on that level.

The thing about laminated spruce tops is they sound a bit thin and dull compared to solid tonewood guitars, but they’re much cheaper. There’s enough clarity and power to satisfy a beginner guitarist, and that’s what matters.

What’s to Love

I like the great price-to-value ratio and the playability, and the Fender FA 115 is a perfect guitar for beginners. The only drawback is about the variable string action. 

Fender FA 115 VS Jasmine S35

While the brand is nowhere near as famous as Fender, Jasmine’s S35 is a very popular entry-level guitar. It has a similar build with an X-brace laminated spruce top, but the back and sides are nato laminates.

The neck is nato as well, with a rosewood fretboard which gives better harmonics than pau ferro. It’s got a compensated synthetic wood saddle and nut, and chrome tuners. Unlike the Fender FA 115, the Jasmine S35 has a satin semi-gloss finish which doesn’t get smudged as quickly.

Sound-wise, they’re comparable, but the Jasmine may be a tad brighter. As for playability, they’re about equal there too, but the Jasmine S35 is somewhat more prone to issues. It has a slightly lower build quality and costs a bit less. 

Pros & Cons

With all that out of the way, let’s round it up. Here are the strengths and weakness of the Fender FA 115.

Pros

  • Very cheap
  • Good quality for the price
  • Beginner-friendly

When it comes to beginner-friendly guitars that actually deliver, they don’t come cheaper than this. Fender FA 115 is one of very few guitars that meet both criteria.

Cons

  • Buzzing and inconsistent action
  • Sounds so-so

The thing about cheap guitars like the Fender FA 115 is you get what you pay for. Compared to medium-high-end guitars, it’s not perfect, but a beginner shouldn’t have any complaints.

Fender FA-115 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar - Natural Bundle with Fender Play Online Lessons, Gig Bag, Tuner, Strings, Strap, Picks, and Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD
  • Full-size dreadnought body for full and vibrant tone, suited for all styles of music
  • Rosewood bridge with compensated synthetic bone saddle
  • Laminated spruce top with X bracing

Is Fender FA 115 Right for You?

All in all, the Fender FA 115 is an excellent choice if a low cost is a high priority. It does away with many of the issues that plague most budget guitars. It plays well, which is the most important thing. As long as you’re not expecting excellence, you won’t find any disappointment.

Rating: 5 out of 5


Last update on 2023-01-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API